“He’s very, very Catholic, but when it comes to being political, he’s much more pragmatic than Catholic.”
The New York Times this morning has a story headlined: “Biden’s Silence on Abortion Rights at a Key Moment Worries Liberals.” Among other things, it points out that President Biden has had little to say on the subject of abortion since taking office; in fact, it notes, “he hasn’t said the word itself — an avoidance so noticeable that one women’s health group has created a website tracking his reluctance, DidBidenSayAbortionYet.org.”
Buried deep in the piece is this section, about Biden’s Catholicism:
Abortion rights are particularly challenging personal terrain for Mr. Biden, an observant Catholic who underwent a decades-long conversion to the cause. Some conservative American bishops have called for Mr. Biden, the country’s second Catholic president, to be denied communion because of his support for abortion rights, a move the Vatican warned against this month.
A White House aide on Wednesday declined to comment on the specific criticisms from reproductive rights advocates but said the administration remained committed to protecting abortion rights.
… Mr. Biden entered the Senate in 1973 as a 30-year-old, just weeks before the Roe v. Wade decision. He soon concluded that the Supreme Court had gone “too far” on abortion rights, and years later voted for a constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to overturn Roe. He has cast his evolution as a matter of wrestling with the teachings of his faith. But his shifting views over the years also reflect a political calculation about the changing mores of his party.
Under pressure from activists and allies early in the 2020 Democratic primary race, Mr. Biden reversed his decades-long support for the Hyde Amendment, a measure that prohibits federal funding for most abortions, and that supporters of abortion rights say all but bans the procedure for poor women and women of color who rely on Medicaid for their health care. Campaign aides who urged Mr. Biden to shift his stance have said his initial reluctance was tied to his faith.
“If one were to look at him as a Catholic and his attendance at Mass and the way he looks at life and death and everything else, culturally he’s like 1,000 percent Catholic,” said Jo Renee Formicola, a professor of political science at Seton Hall University who studies the relationship between the Catholic Church and American lawmakers. “He’s very, very Catholic, but when it comes to being political, he’s much more pragmatic than Catholic.”